“Music is colorblind” is one of those clichéd but usually sincere sentiments that often get bandied about when one wishes to demonstrate the unifying power of song. It’s also a common refrain used when a person of color dares to bring up issues of race in music.
Race in general is never an easy subject to broach – it’s still a topic that some people tend to tiptoe around, spout platitudes about, or just outright ignore. But issues of race within the context of the music industry – from “race records” in the 20’s and 30’s to the suburbanization of contemporary hip-hop – has a particularly thorny and complicated history.
As a black fan of rock music, Houston-based documentary filmmaker Raymond Gayle has a personal interest in telling a different story of race and the music industry. Electric Purgatory: The Fate of The Black Rocker is an impassioned look at black rock musicians, the talented and often overlooked architects of modern rock music, some of whom never quite achieved got their due in the canon of rock criticism or achieved the mainstream success of their white peers.Continue Reading